Israel fires missiles over Damascus: Syria

Syrian flag

Syria intercepts Israeli missiles fired toward Damascus

The Syrian air defenses intercepted most of the missiles launched by Israeli warplanes on areas near the capital Damascus on Friday night, the Syrian army said.

Israel has traditionally refrained from publicizing military operations against Iranian-linked targets on its northern front, but has been lifting the veil in recent days, a sign of confidence in a campaign waged amid occasional tension with Syria's big-power backer, Russia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said that Israel has completed its mission to detect and destroy tunnels dug by Iran-aligned Hezbollah militants along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

The United States has said repeatedly that it will continue to support Israel's right to defend itself against Iran and Hezbollah, including through targeted strikes in Syria, in the wake of its decision to remove American forces from the country.

In that incident, Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near Damascus, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers. It was the first Israeli jet to be downed since 1982 and Hezbollah championed it as the start of "a new strategic phase".

But with that civil war winding down, Israeli security officials fear Hezbollah is refocusing its attention on Israel. It has been clear about preventing the build-up of Iranian proxy forces near the Israeli occupied Golan Heights and the transfer of sophisticated missiles and equipment to the Tehran-backed Hezbollah. While they have at times traded blows within Syria and the occupied Golan Heights, the Israel-Lebanon border has mostly been quiet.

Only recently has it begun to speak publicly about thwarting the weapons shipments from Iran through Syria into Lebanon. In a New York Times interview published Friday, Eisenkot said that Israel "has struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit" as part of his showdown with Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force.

Latest News